Monthly Garden Guide

Welcome November, a month that ushers in slightly cooler temperatures through most of the country and gives gardeners the opportunity to take care
of some business in the landscape. Here are a few chores your garden might need through this month:

  • Cover strawberry beds with 2″ of straw (not hay). This will protect the plants from cold and winds, control weeds and warm the soil earlier in the spring.
  • Clean up all fallen leaves from blueberry beds, then add a 2″ thick layer of pine needles, straw or pine bark mulch around the plants. This will insulate the roots during the winter.
  • Sharpen, clean and repair all hand tools before storing them.
  • If rainfall has been light, deeply water all trees and shrubs before the ground freezes.
  • Protect any half-hardy shrubs by surrounding them with a wire cage and cover them with a thick layer of dry leaves.
  • Wrap the trunks of young trees to protect their tender bark from frost injury.
  • If you haven’t already, cut grass low to prevent mold from forming under snow cover.
  • After the ground freezes, cover perennials with mulch; this will prevent frost-thaw cycles from heaving them out of the ground.
  • Turn the compost pile and add water if it feels dry.
  • Prune roses back to 8″-12″ tall, mound compost around the bud union and cover with a rose cone.
  • If you are planning to plant a live Christmas tree, dig the hole now before the ground freezes.
  • Continue raking and shredding leaves to add to the compost pile.
  • Mulch plants you want to overwinter with a thick layer of straw.
  • Last chance to plant spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.
  • If you didn’t do it last month, cut back perennials, clean all beds of leaves and weeds and edge your lawn.
  • Don’t feed your houseplants through the winter, but give them as much light as possible.
  • Clean the foliage of houseplants that will tolerate it (those with smooth, un-fuzzy leaves). Wash both sides. This removes the dust, which allows them to breathe better; it also gives you a great opportunity to check for insects.
  • Make sure you allow your houseplants to dry out between waterings; they do not use as much water in winter as they do in the spring.